The network that prides itself on being “Very Funny” just got a whole lot funnier today: Exiled late-night talk-show host Conan O’Brien has revealed he will be joining the TBS lineup with a brand-new program starting in November. The announcement follows months of speculation that O’Brien would relocate to Fox — the one major network without a late-night presence — following his exit from NBC and his short-lived stint with The Tonight Show. Instead, O’Brien surprised his legions of fans with news he’ll be making the jump to basic cable.
“The good news: I will be doing a show on TBS starting in November! The bad news: I’ll be playing Rudy on the all new Cosby Show,” O’Brien tweeted today, hours before his Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television Tour launches in Eugene, Oregon (check back tomorrow for our full report). “In three months I’ve gone from network television to Twitter to performing live in theaters, and now I’m headed to basic cable. My plan is working perfectly,” O’Brien, who will emcee this year’s Bonnaroo Festival, said in a press release.
As Rolling Stone previously reported, just seven months after taking over the Tonight Show, O’Brien split from his longtime network home amid struggling ratings and rumors Jay Leno was anxious to return to his 11:35 p.m. time slot. O’Brien eventually reached a lucrative deal with NBC (rumored to top $40 million) to give up the show, as long as he promised to stay off the airwaves until September 1st.
The move to TBS means that the network’s newest late-night program, Lopez Tonight, will shift from the 11 p.m. hour to midnight, a move that seems to delight host George Lopez, who called up Conan himself to encourage him to come aboard. “I can’t think of anything better than doing my show with Conan as my lead-in,” Lopez said in a statement. “It’s the beginning of a new era in late-night comedy.” Conan’s new, still-untitled show will be one-hour long and air Monday through Thursday.
For more on Conan’s tumultuous past few months, check out the stories below.
• Conan O’Brien Joins Bonnaroo, Announces “Legally Prohibited” Tour
• Conan O’Brien Recruits Will Ferrell, Beck for Final Episode “Free Bird”
• “Fallon” ‘s ?uestlove Sides With Conan O’Brien in Late-Night Battle
• Rolling Stones Give Conan O’Brien “Satisfaction” as “Tonight” Books Neil Young for Last Show
• Jay Leno on Conan O’Brien: Read the Late-Night Legend’s Rolling Stone Interview